A Common Pleas Court judge in Bucks County has awarded more than $6 million in damages to the estate of a 21-year-old Philadelphia woman who was killed in 2012 when her car was struck by a pickup truck driven by an off-duty Pennsylvania state trooper who later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter.
Judge James M. McMaster on Wednesday ruled that Barry Searfoss must pay $6.26 million in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages to the estate of Robin T. Williams.
Athena Pappas, who represented Searfoss in the lawsuit, declined to say whether Searfoss would appeal the ruling.
Searfoss, 46, of Coatesville, was sentenced in 2014 to six to 23 months in prison. He served five months and was released early for good behavior, said Raymond Bily, the attorney for Williams's estate.
The former trooper was off-duty on May 18, 2012, when he became intoxicated while attending a charity event at Warminster's municipal golf course. The event was being held in memory of another woman killed by a drunk driver.
That night, Searfoss was driving his Toyota truck about 71 m.p.h. on the westbound side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Willow Grove when the truck crashed into the rear of a Lincoln Town Car being driven by Williams. The 1997 Town Car had just suffered an engine failure and was traveling about 11 m.p.h. in the left lane.
Williams died of blunt-force injuries, burns, and smoke inhalation.
At the time of her death, Williams was attending college and worked as a caregiver in a Warminster retirement home.
Warminster also was sued, but was removed as a defendant in the case because of an immunity statute.